Easter Special – Only living things bear fruit.
length: 92:14 - taught on Mar, 27 2016
Title: Easter Special - Only living things bear fruit.
Announcements / opening prayer:
It is one thing to overcome the temptation of the flesh and not do evil things, but quite something else to do good things. The legalist might be able to boast that he is not guilty of certain overt sins, but does he produce the fruit of the Spirit or the graces of divine virtue in doing good, especially unto others in love, laying down his life?
Christ got to the heart of the matter in revealing that God’s good in His creatures was not to be only an outward show of following the rules but that it was also to be an inward life.
MAT 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';
MAT 5:28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
The Christian way of life does not solely consist of what we don't do but also in what we do or purpose to do. There is a path not to walk and a path to walk by means of the Spirit.
When the believer resists sin and evil through the power of grace he is applying his identification with Christ's death at Calvary.
ROM 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
When we walk in newness of life, presenting ourselves to God as those alive from the dead and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God, walking by means of the Spirit, and producing the fruit of the Spirit we are applying our identification with Christ in His resurrection.
ROM 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,
ROM 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;
ROM 6:7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
ROM 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
ROM 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
ROM 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
ROM 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The resisting of evil is linked to Calvary and the doing of good is linked to the resurrection of Christ. There are plenty of things that a dead thing cannot do, but only a living thing can bear fruit.
The Bible uses fruit as a metaphor for production. Fruit is only born by a living, healthy, and cared for plant.
JOH 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
JOH 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
JOH 12:25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
JOH 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
The contrast between works and fruit is important. A machine in a factory works, and turns out a product, but it could never manufacture fruit.
Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of the believer, it is the life of the Spirit.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
When you think of "works" you think of effort, labor, strain, and toil; when you think of "fruit" you think of beauty, quietness, the unfolding of life.
The flesh produces "dead works," but the Spirit produces living fruit.
HEB 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
HEB 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
In Christ's sacrifice we see the final revelation of who God really is. Religion that rests solely on the sacrifice rests on the ultimate truth of the divine nature, and can never be shaken.
The blood of the animal sacrifices didn't cleanse one conscience, but only looked forward to the one true sacrifice that would finally do it. No ministering priest could say, "It is finished." There was always another sacrifice, but no longer.
Animal blood only cleansed ceremonial uncleanliness.
The result of the blood of bulls and goats, ashes of red heifers, and the sprinkling of the waters of separation was only purification of the flesh. These sacrifices only cleansed outward ceremonial uncleanliness. The author of Hebrews uses the argument, "how much more the blood of Christ." If animal blood, through an earthly ritual, can cleanse the flesh, how much more can the blood of Jesus cleanse?
The blood of Christ actually cleanses the conscience. At salvation the conscience actually becomes living, holy, and resurrected.
In the same way, the flesh cannot produce good works, but only dead works. Yet now, through the regeneration that is in Christ, we are new creatures identified with Him in resurrection so that our stained conscience is now clean and we are alive, presented to the Father in order to produce good works or fruit in service of the living God.
Christ's offering of Himself without spot to God had an absolute or ideal character; it was something beyond which nothing could be, or could be conceived to be, as a response to God's mind and requirements in relation to sin. It was the final response, a spiritual response, to the divine necessities of the situation.
His sacrifice was rational and voluntary, an intelligent and loving response to the holy and gracious will of God, and to the terrible situation of man.
MAR 7:15 there is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.
What defiles a man is what is in him and not anything outside of himself. Christ cleansed us within.
The pollution that was the barrier between man and God has been removed in the blood of Christ, so that men and women, emancipated from inward bondage, can worship God in Spirit and in truth.
Suffering and death:
For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I will tell of Thy name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise Thee.
And this fruit has in it the seed for still more fruit. Jesus is concerned that we produce "fruit .. more fruit .. much fruit."
This is the way we glorify Him.
Love begets more love! Joy helps to produce more joy.' The old nature cannot produce fruit. The old nature is dead. Only the new nature, which is alive, resurrected, and holy, can bear fruit.
JOH 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.
JOH 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Identification with Christ in His resurrection gives us a new life in which we produce divine good, virtue, fruit, good works, etc. We live to do these things and we purpose to do these things as those alive from the dead, and that is not just any life, it is the life that is Christ.
Events directly after the resurrection reveal to us some of the aspects of this life.
It is not comprehensive, or all of the life, but Christ’s interactions during the forty days He was on earth after the resurrection and before the ascension are telling.
No more guilt - visit to Peter [behold I stand at the door and knock]
1CO 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1CO 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1CO 15:5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1CO 15:6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
1CO 15:7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
1CO 15:8 and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
In Paul’s account, Christ appeared to Peter first and just one on one. First priority for Christ was to deliver Peter from the crushing weight of guilt that had burdened him every moment for over three days.
'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
No more ignorance - visit to disciples (Luk 24)
No longer are we to be ignorant of divine revelation. Christ unlocks the full revelation of the OT and fulfills all revelation in the NT.
LUK 24:44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
LUK 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
LUK 24:46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day;
LUK 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
LUK 24:48 "You are witnesses of these things.
No more ignorance concerning His finished work for the salvation and resurrection of mankind.
LUK 24:25 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
LUK 24:26 "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"
LUK 24:27 And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
No more sorrow - His first appearance to Mary, road to Emmaus.
LUK 24:17 And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.
Knowing what you now know, if you could go back in time and witness the cross, would you be sad?
JOH 20:11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;
JOH 20:12 and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.
JOH 20:13 And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
JOH 20:14 When she had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
JOH 20:15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
JOH 20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).
JOH 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"
JOH 20:18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.
Follow Me - Joh 21; a new life and walk
JOH 21:18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."
JOH 21:19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!"
JOH 21:20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
JOH 21:21 Peter therefore seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
JOH 21:22 Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
Not for you to know - "times and epochs" "what about John?" So then it is a walk by faith.
ACT 1:6 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
ACT 1:7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
ACT 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Fruit of the Spirit - fruit grows out of life. He is risen!